UPDATE: MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) – Leaders of two local cities say they’ll fight a state ruling that calls for traffic cameras to come down. Tuesday, the Iowa Department of Transportation released evaluations, recommending the removal of at least one camera in all of the six Iowa cities that use them, including Davenport and Muscatine. Now mayors of both cities say they’ll appeal.
Muscatine’s Mayor says he wants to keep all of the city’s cameras. There are five of them. One is near the high school and four are on the primary highway system. The DOT is recommending doing away with one of those, the one at 61 and University.
It was activated four years ago. And ever since, the debate has raged. Is this, are all of them, revenue generators or do they increase safety? Mayor DeWayne Hopkins says they do both. “And frankly, I don’t see what’s wrong with facilities or items like that generating a revenue.” He says without that, city leaders would have to take the budget back to the drawing board. Muscatine’s cameras bring in $600,000 a year. “We have four school patrol officers, so it pays for part of their salary, as well as other things with the fire department and so forth. So the money is put to good use. There’s no question about it.”
But Hopkins questions the DOT evaluation. It shows crashes are up; 10 measured in the two years before this camera was active, and 11 in the years after. And he has issues with the evaluations showing this camera’s placement violates the law because it’s within 1,000 feet of a speed limit change. “The Iowa DOT was extremely instrumental when we first placed these cameras, so I’m not sure where they’re coming from with regards to that.”
DOT reps say they’ll work with city leaders to possibly add extra warnings, signs that say “be prepared to stop when flashing”. The mayor says warning signs are already up on 61. “Signs…and 8 red flags. So I don’t know what more we can do for the automobile operator to let him or her know that there’s a speed limit ahead, and we’d appreciate it if you’d abide by the law.”
The mayor tell us most drivers are used to these cameras by now. No one gets a ticket unless they’re going more than 10 over. No one pays more than $75 dollars for a ticket. And these tickets don’t affect your driving or insurance record. And as for the idea that because of that, these cameras target out-of-towners? The mayor says no. The eye in the sky has caught him too.
Local municipalities have 30 days to comply with the DOT ruling or appeal it. Davenport’s mayor tells us he also plans to appeal.
DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – City leaders in Muscatine and Davenport say they will appeal a DOT recommendation that they remove one of their traffic cameras.
A major survey was released by the Department of Transportation. It showed crashes have increased in some areas since the traffic camera was installed. There are also a high number of speed violations and a camera in Muscatine is located less than 1,000 feet from a speed limit reduction, which is not compliant with state rules. The state says that camera has to go.
City officials have thirty days to make an appeal.
Davenport is also looking to appeal. The DOT is recommending the city remove their traffic cameras at Kimberly and Elmore. Experts say data shows a rise in crashes at that intersection since the cameras were installed in 2004.
“I’m not sure the state is as sensitive to that as perhaps they could be,” Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba said. “If you start taking them out you’re going to probably have more accidents, more people being sent to the hospital and more fatalities. We don’t want that.”
Mayor Gluba says the police department is reviewing the information.